Does your team need a dose of Asperger's and Neurodiversity?

Let's face it, the business environment is competitive. We are looking for ways to create shareholder value, increase efficiency, and boost employee productivity. There are many traditional methods, out sourcing, down sizing, restructuring, and merging. These approaches often cause brand damage. They also create stinging reputations on I'm suggesting another possibility a few cutting edge companies are trying. This is crazy, but what you need is more people with Asperger's in your company.

What is Asperger's and why do I want it? Asperger's is a developmental disorder, the result of structural and or physiological differences in the brain, not bad parents or lack of control. Think of it as how the brain is hardwired. It creates a brain that processes differently.

Now frequently diagnosed during childhood, it was virtually unknown in the USA until the early 90's. If you were out of school before then, you are likely undiagnosed. Symptom are diverse as it is a syndrome. Meaning it's a group of symptoms with each individual having a different combination and degree of the symptoms. Current thinking is it expresses differently between males and females. 

Confusingly, the diagnostic criteria are only a small number of the negative traits which are commonly seen in children, but often masked in adults. Common adult symptoms include:

  • Difficulty with non-verbal such as looking in the eye, facial expression, and body language.
  • Lack of social or emotional interaction.
  • Extreme focus on narrow interests.
  • Interprets and speaks literally. No between the lines.

So what's the benefit? It's the non-diagnostic common traits for Aspies. A few of the common positive traits:

  • Remarkable honesty.
  • Pursue ideas they believe in without being deterred by what others say. 
  • Good at recognizing patterns and classifying things.
  • Speak their minds regardless of the social context.
  • Frequently above average intelligence.
  • Obsessive focus on items of interest.

Would your team be better if someone spoke up about an issue? What if they gave you an alternate solution or view? How about someone who pursued approaches others rejected, without even examining? Would it help having a person who could see the big picture that is the root of your biggest challenge? My experience is every team benefits with someone who sees and processes without even a consideration there could be a box to get out of.

A few progressive companies are already tapping this unique workforce. Microsoft created a special interview process. Ford created positions tailored to the strengths Asperger's brings. SAP recruits Aspies in QA for their amazing ability in spotting deviations and issues. All these companies recognized the special skills Asperger's brings far outweigh the training, learning, and changes to support them. Are you ready to embrace someone who may say things like "Everything you've ever done in your life is shit." Steve Jobs

Someone with Asperger's different brain hardware and operating system may be your new found secret to prospering in today's competitive times. 

Tim Goldstein

© Wiser Ltd 2017


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